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Preserving Bobby's Legacy

Georgia State Graduate Research Assistant Collier Neeley (L) levels marble cradling while visitors pay homage to Bobby Jones in the background. The arrow points to the Jones monument.

Georgia State Graduate Research Assistant Collier Neeley (l) levels marble cradling while visitors pay homage to Bobby Jones in the background. The arrow points to the Jones monument.

by Neale Nickels, Director of Preservation
If you haven’t had the pleasure of walking through Oakland in the last few weeks, do yourself a favor and get here now! When I came on board nine months ago, I thought the cemetery was beautiful – lush and green, well-kept, and peaceful.
My coworkers always told me, “just wait until spring,” and let me tell you, it was worth the wait! The last couple of months have been a feast for my senses as I have watched daffodils bloom, green buds become leaves on the trees outside my window, and a rainbow of flowers and flowering trees pop up everywhere I look – many of the same ones you’ll see adorning the 18 holes at Augusta National if you tune in for the Masters.
Speaking of the Masters, Bobby Jones, winner of golf’s Grand Slam and founder/designer of Augusta National Golf Club, is one of our favorite residents. In fact, the Preservation, Restoration and Operations (PRO) team is working diligently to preserve the area around Mr. Jones’ gravesite (we casually refer to it as “Bobby’s neighborhood.”)
We spent the winter planning our schedule and what materials and techniques we will use to preserve the walkways, walls and monuments in the Bobby Jones area, just inside the pedestrian gates on Memorial Drive across from Six Feet Under.
Working across from Six Feet Under is hard, but the PRO team fights through the cravings! Pictured (L to R) are Collier Neeley, Chaunce Braun, and Michael Wettlaufer.

Working across from Six Feet Under is hard, but the PRO team fights through the cravings! Pictured (l-r) are Collier Neeley, Chaunce Braun, and Michael Wettlaufer.

Now we are well underway with the project and the transformation is already astounding. As I wrote in a previous post, in this line of work you often don’t know what you’ll find until you get going. In the first few lots that we’re restoring we uncovered marble copings and cradling rails that had sunken and been covered by grass. We’re in the process of re-setting them so that they will once again delineate the resting places of Atlanta’s early residents. We also plan to install interpretive signage describing the process and telling the stories of those who are memorialized in that section.

Bobby Jones monument at Oakland Cemetery

When we’re done with the hardscaping, Gardens Director Sara Henderson and her talented crew will surely put the icing on the cake with beautiful plantings that emulate Victorian garden ideals. Be sure to check out the progress and feel free to ask us questions! And if you’re in the area enjoying one of the world’s most beautiful and famous golf courses, why not pay respect to Mr. Jones and thank him for his contributions to the golf community? Don’t forget to bring a golf ball to place on his grave.

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